Time Management 101

Man reading business plan at night and checking his watch

Time Management 101

 

Hey, are you busy? If you are like the rest of us, you are. Everybody’s busy! Because we’re all so busy, management of our time is one of the most important skills to have and one of the hardest to master and implement.

 

After doing research and asking experts, there are good management tips that are easy to implement.

 

Make a Calendar

Making a calendar is the first step to better time management. Populate your calendar with all of your regular meetings, checkpoints, and deadlines. Update your calendar as new commitments come up or personal deadlines you need to meet. You will be better able to prioritize your tasks.

 

If something is important enough to consider doing, put it on your calendar. That is the only way you can really know if you will ever have time to do it.

 

Stick to It

Now that you’ve got your tasks written down, you need to stick to your calendar. And schedule new engagements accordingly. “Know that if you are doing something other than what is on your calendar right now, you need to either delete an item … or postpone it to another time.

 

Remember to Schedule Time for Yourself

You have to be realistic. You’ll need a break in your day, mentally and physically. Write it down on the calendar and make that regular ‘sacred space’ for time for self-care.

 

Be SMART About Your To-Do Lists

When you’re assessing your objectives for the day, make sure the tasks on your to-do list are specific, measurable, attainable, rewarding and time-limited – or “SMART.”

 

Get Started Early

I have found starting their days at least a half-hour earlier had its advantages.

This gives me time to get ready for the day and unwind a bit before starting on work. If you get going early, you might finish early and you won’t be nearly as stressed and frazzled.

 

Protect Your Time

Start by writing down how much time you spent on each task. And don’t just use time tracking to budget the time you’ll spend on future tasks. Go a step further and use the numbers as the baseline for when you should be “mentally clocking in and out” of a task. It can be easy to get lost in a project, but being judicious with our time can help prevent us from veering too far from the schedule we’ve set for ourselves.

 

Set Time Limits

Once you have a handle on how long each of your tasks takes, block off time for them on your calendar. If you can attach a proposed time for when each item on the list needs to be done, you will find that you will become much more focused and will feel that extra push to get everything on your to-do list done in a timely manner.

 

Limit Distractions

Stuff happens. You can’t keep things from coming up and throwing your day out of whack. But on a typical day, you can pay attention to how long you’re on the phone, or how much time you spend checking non-urgent emails. If you’re having trouble meeting deadlines, get stricter on yourself about time spent on ancillary activities, like social media. The goal is to remove all distractions and focus only on the task.

 

Outsource What You Can

Outsourcing can be anything from divvying up tasks among colleagues to using programs and apps to streamline your scheduling process. Simple things, like reminders in Outlook or Google Calendar to alert you when a new task begins is very helpful.

 

Take a Day

Seriously. Each week for a 24-hour period — from midnight one day to midnight the next — there is to be no work — no looking at business emails, no business meeting and no talking about business, even if you are out with friends and the subject comes up. It’s a 24-hour reprieve to clear your mind. Not only will the day off provide an opportunity for a thorough recharge, the 24-hour reprieve doubles as a deadline encouraging the timely completion of the tasks at hand.

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